Inside Opinion

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Tag: DOJ


Go broke gambling – in the comfort of your own home

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Good news for American gamblers. Someday soon they won’t have to get dressed and go to a casino to lose their money. They’ll be able to sit at home and legally throw it away – and many states will gladly help them do it.

Now that the Justice Department has reversed its longtime position against online gambling, expect to see a lot of states quickly move to start selling lottery tickets on the Internet – at the very least. Nevada and the District of Columbia are already poised to license online poker websites, and others are likely to follow suit.

Several states have been pushing for a relaxation in online gambling restrictions. The DOJ now says that the federal 1961 Wire Act only applies to online sports betting, opening the door for states to sell their own lottery tickets online and license gambling websites – for a piece of the action, of course. Read more »


The Seattle lesson: Police abuses start at the top

This editorial will appear in the Thursday print edition.

Could Seattle’s police force be that brutal? The U.S. Justice Department last week reported that many of Seattle’s officers know way too much about bashing suspects and not nearly enough about de-escalating confrontations.

A couple of numbers sum up the indictment: Justice’s Civil Rights Division concluded that Seattle police engaged in excessive force 57 percent of the time they hammered someone with their batons. Overall, the investigators decided that 20 percent of all use of force by officers was unconstitutionally excessive.

Members of the SPD are angrily challenging those shocking findings. From this distance, it’s impossible to say whether the department has been unfairly tarred by armchair experts. But there’s no doubt that Seattle police have a flair for doing outrageous things in front of video cameras. Read more »


Federal probe just the latest chapter in sorry Washam saga


This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

If Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam is feeling at all vindicated by the failure of the recall campaign against him, perhaps news that he’s the subject of a federal investigation has provided something of a reality check.

The Department of Justice inquiry stems from Washam’s retaliation against Sally Barnes, a high-ranking office employee who had complained about how Washam treated her.

Barnes, who cited “intolerable working conditions” when she resigned in March 2010, is one of the employees suing Washam and Pierce County for damages. A fifth has reached a settlement.

The DOJ investigation – which grew out of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determination that Washam likely had violated Barnes’ civil rights – could go away if Barnes reaches a settlement with Pierce County. Or the DOJ could continue investigating – and even sue the county – if it’s not satisfied with the terms of the settlement.  Read more »